NMCI marked up for 2004

The Pentagon has given approval to the Navy to seek funding of $1.1 billion for the Navy Marine Corps Intranet in the fiscal 2004 budget, a markup of nearly $500 million from the fiscal 2003 budget.

The Navy submitted the NMCI funding request to Dov Zakheim, comptroller of the Defense Department, at $1.1 billion. The fiscal 2003 budget called for $646 million.

Kevin Clarke, a spokesman for EDS — the NMCI prime contractor — confirmed that the full $1.1 billion amount had been submitted by the comptroller's office for approval.

"It's obviously not finalized and won't be until the spring, but we feel it's good that it was sent" to Congress at the full amount, Clarke said. "We appreciate the support of the Department of Defense and Department of the Navy for the NMCI. [The funding proposal] reflects the increasing confidence and momentum the program continues to gain."

The White House will send the budget proposal to Congress Feb. 3.

NMCI has produced mixed results since its inception, but has made significant gains in the past several months. The program recently received approval to cut over as many as 160,000 seats to the intranet, and EDS executives expect that number could go up by another 150,000 in the next several weeks. To date, about 55,000 seats have been cut over.

That additional roll over of 150,000 seats will depend on EDS meeting certain service level agreements. Rear Adm. Charles Munns, director of NMCI, said last week that his office has the latest EDS service level agreement data from December and is evaluating it. He said he expects that EDS will meet its service level agreements soon.

Plano, Texas-based EDS has seen rocky times of late, as its stock price has fallen nearly 75 percent in the past year and the Securities and Exchange Commission launched a formal investigation into its accounting practices this month.

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